Saint Nicholas is a very busy man, but he’s still found the time to visit tons of places on the GWR network, simultaneously (how does he ever do it?). Find out when and where to meet Father Christmas this festive season.
Santa Land, Hyde Park Winter Wonderland
Throughout December, excluding Christmas day
Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland is a Christmas extravaganza that causes a festive frenzy in the capital every year. Let’s face it, you either love it or hate it. It’s busy and at times overcrowded but with so many activities available you’re sure to find something to get you into the Christmas spirit. This year, Santa Land promises to light up the faces of little ones who are excited to meet Santa Claus in his grotto. The grotto is open every day from 10am to 6pm. Visits to meet Santa are based on a first come, first served basis and children who have been good will receive a gift. Best start behaving.
Bicester Avenue Garden Centre
Until 24 December
You can enjoy a delicious, freshly-prepared breakfast or tea with the man himself. The whole family will be able to fill their tummies, meet Father Christmas and his helpers before the children decorate a festive biscuit, after which they’ll also receive a present. This is the perfect outing for families looking for some festive fun. Ticket prices vary for breakfast and tea bookings and you’ll need to book in advance. Breakfast: Child’s Breakfast £10, Adult’s Great British Breakfast £8, Adult’s Mini Breakfast £4.50. Tea: Child’s Hot Tea £10, Child’s Cold Tea £10, Adult’s Afternoon Tea £8.00, Adult’s Mini Tea £4.50.
19 and 20 December
Cheltenham’s Bacon Theatre is hosting what promises to be a truly magical afternoon for families to delight in. On Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 December, the theatre is transforming into a Christmas grotto with a beautiful festive tree, twinkling lights, and with Santa Claus himself on site to say hello to little ones and give them a gift before they settle down for a special screening of Beauty and the Beast starring Emma Watson. Children are encouraged to bring along their letters for Santa to these afternoons. Arrive from 3pm, the film starts from 4pm. Tickets cost £6 or £20 for a family of four to include a treat from Santa.
Weston Super Mare Pier
9–10 December and 16–24 December
The Grand Pier in Weston Super Mare has had a magical makeover just in time for Christmas, with a winter wonderland and grotto now in place. Follow the snowy footprints as you enter the pier and make your way towards the wonderland with its moving penguins and polar bears. Santa’s reindeers and elves will be on hand to make sure you don’t get lost as you’re transported down an enchanted path to the grotto. You can meet Santa from 11am on selected dates during December. There’s no advance booking so simply turn up on the day and buy a ticket from the retail shop on the 1st floor of the pier. Tickets cost £5 and includes a wrapped gift for the child.
Blue Funnel Cruises, Ocean Village
16 December and 23 December
Hop on board a morning or afternoon Santa Claus cruise where children can visit Father Christmas in his special grotto, receive an early Christmas gift and be entertained by Scotty the Clown. Mums and dads can knock back a complimentary drink (hurrah!) and enjoy a mince pie while the little ones are amused. Kids will also receive a free soft drink with their ticket and the bar will be open from the moment you board. Booking in advance is required and the 16 December 11:15 trip is already sold out, however the 16 December 14:15 trip and the 23 December 11:15 trip still have availability. The cruises each last for 1.5 hours. Ticket prices: Adult £10.95, Child £9.95.
Churchill Square Shopping Centre
Until 24 December
For a Christmas grotto with a twist, visit Churchill Square’s very own coal mine this festive season. Santa Claus needs his visitors to roll up their sleeves and find some hidden gold before having a photo taken and receiving a gift from the rosy-faced, jolly fellow. Along the way, Santa’s miner elves, busy working away in this Christmassy mine, will be telling stories to all of the little ones. Children will (hopefully) learn that some hard graft will reap rewards, all while having plenty of seasonal fun.